As we’ve mentioned before, one of the more preferred tasks we are assigned in our role here in the Bunker at Research & Marketing Strategies (RMS) is data analysis and reporting.  The day that the fieldwork wraps up for our online survey or telephone work is the time when we kick it in gear for our clients.  The data analysis and reporting is the culmination of a lot of hard work from many parties involved in the project – and the report is the most tangible deliverable from an oftentimes intangible service like market research.  In essence, the report is the product that you’ve sold to the end-user of your service.

So, we often grapple with what is best for our client from a reporting standpoint.  Do they want just the basic, most topline and brief findings from the market research or do they want an in-depth report, with verbatims, and cross-tabs on all profiling questions and demographics?  Well, it depends on a number of factors – such as budget, for one.  Depending on the client, we have those who prefer one over the other, or even prefer both.  The RMS Analytics team likes to strive for a nice combination of the two.  Ultimately, we design customized reports to meet any need.

For the purpose of this blog post, I won’t be taking the budget factor into consideration (as it often trumps all of these other pros and cons.)  This blog post discusses the basic tradeoff of more versus less in a market research report.

A Dashboard Report (A.K.A., executive summary, topline, brief)


    • Provides a quick overview of market research – more likely to be acted upon faster by the client.
    • Highlights only the key takeaways, offers quick turnaround for critical needs.
    • A nice graphical way to display findings to a large audience – easy to comprehend.



  • Does not offer much depth or insight with regards to reading between the lines of data. 
  • Does not report on all data inquired about in the market research study.
  • May leave the ‘so what’ up to interpretation if not enough explanation is given by the analyst.

A Full Market Research Report (A.K.A., full deck, “the old 96er”)


    • An in-depth look at all findings from the market research, even the non-critical questions.
    • Explores and digs for findings that may not be evident at first glance of the data.
    • Includes full verbatims of open-ended questions with coded responses.


  • Report development time is much longer than a dashboard.
  • Advanced analysis may confuse or overwhelm the reader or audience.
  • May take a long time to review and result in a longer timeframe to act on results.
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Should I Use a Dashboard or Full Report?

Interested in talking about how market research can help your business? Contact our Director of Business Development, Sandy Baker, at or call us at 315-635-9802.